It is 3 a.m. You just finished the ten-page paper you have been working on for the past 12 straight hours. You look outside the windows of the library, and notice that snow has just begun to fall. The thought of walking back to your townhouse alone not only worries you but also seems unbearable due to the cold weather.

It is too late to call a friend. So what do you do?

If you follow the parking rules at Fairfield University, you have no choice but to take one for the team – or yourself – and make the trek across campus alone.

This is just one example of the frustration undergraduate students feel towards the parking rules and restrictions that are in effect on campus.

Last fall, starting with the class of 2012, Fairfield University decided to only allow upperclassmen to have their cars on campus.  This meant, that for freshmen and now sophomores, more cabs and more trips on the Stagbus would be their main form of transportation.

However, the University listened to the views of the students, and started the Hertz car service, where you can rent a car for a few hours, or even a day, depending on your needs.

But, the restrictions of parking, contingent upon the color sticker you are issued, still cause some problems for the students, mostly juniors and commuters, on campus.

“I think it is stressful that we can only park at the townhouses because when it is raining or gets really cold, it’s a far walk to the classroom buildings,” said Chloe Carlino ’12,  “I also think we should be able to park in the lot behind the Rec Plex or Quick Center for the library especially if students stay late and have to walk all the way back in the dark,” she said.

When heavy rain or a type of storm is suspected, the University has sent out a message that there will be a temporary campus shuttle. But long gone are the days when students, especially in Dolan and the Townhouses, were able to catch the campus shuttle that used to run about every 15 minutes.

In addition, in a survey of 25 commuter students, 18 expressed frustration with not being able to park in the BCC lot. This was mainly due to the fact that their lounge is located in the BCC, where they meet with friends and study.

At Fairfield University, there are eight different parking decals issued to undergraduates, graduate students, commuters, faculty and administration. However, the parking lots allotted per decal, seems skewed toward undergraduate students.

“A lot of my classes are in Canisius, and during the day, the lots get filled quickly,” said Kara Halligan, ’11. “I don’t think it is fair that I can’t park behind a freshman lot without receiving a ticket when there is no space, especially when underclassmen can’t have their cars on campus.”

“There are more ‘green’ parking permits issued,” said John Ritchie from the Department of Public Safety.  “This is due to the number of commuter students, University College students and graduate students who are eligible for a green permit.”

Ironically, the color green, is popular in more ways then one, when referring to parking at Fairfield University. Not only is it the most popular parking decal than can be found on campus but, it is representative of Fairfield University’s attempt at becoming a green campus.

“Fairfield University is diligently trying to make the campus a pedestrian safe environment while encouraging our community members to go green,” said Ritchie. “Some of the traffic and parking regulations have been designed to encourage people to walk on campus rather than drive, which satisfies both goals as we reduce the amount of traffic while decreasing unnecessary fuel consumption.”

Although traffic and parking ticket fees are consistent from last year to this year, the prices range from $20 to $150.  For example, parking in the wrong lot warrants a ticket anywhere within the above price range.

According to the Bursar’s office, the money received from ticket payments, is placed into a general revenue fund.

With all of the construction being done on campus, students’ frustrations have risen, due to the restricted number of parking spaces, especially near the Village.

“Improvements are viewed differently – the reallocation of the Quick Center parking lot has vastly improved Quick Center operations and has resulted in a decrease in staffing requirements for events,” said Ritchie. “Students of course will view the reallocation as a hindrance.”

Improvements are great for the University, but as stated above, interfere with the campus life of the existing students and community members on campus.

Maybe a focus on what the students want on a daily basis rather than a more efficient way to less frequent Quick Center events, would make Fairfield less red in the face, and more red close to their hearts.

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